HCM CITY — Thousands of foreign tourists chose to celebrate the New Year in Viet Nam.
|Foreign tourists arrive at Tan Son Nhat Airport, HCM City, on the first day of the year. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Nhut
A representative of the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City said more than 4,200 tourists, mostly foreigners and Viet kieu (overseas Vietnamese) landed at the airport as of yesterday afternoon.
Major tour operators said they served large numbers of foreign tourists on the first day of the year.
Vietravel welcomed three tour groups from Japan to HCM City and Ha Noi, while Saigontourist hosted a group from Russia who visited HCM City and went on to Nha Trang City.
Tourism activities in other localities also picked up for the New Year.
On the first day of the year, Ha Long City received more than 2,000 international tourists on the SuperStar Aquarius cruise ship operated by Saigontourist and more than 300 people on the Seabound Pride cruise ship of the Viet Excursions Company.
Nguyen Van Tuan, general director of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, said the tourism sector hoped to serve at least 6.5 million international tourists and nearly 32 million local visitors this year.
The sector's turnover was expected to reach VND150 trillion (US$7.1 billion) in 2012, he said.
Viet Nam joined other countries around the globe in welcoming in the New Year with parties, art performances, and fireworks.
In the capital city of Ha Noi, despite chilliness, thousands of people gathered in the area surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake to enjoy the beauty of flowers and count down to the New Year.
The New Year countdown party in the August Revolution Square in front of the Ha Noi Opera House also attracted big crowds.
"Ha Noi Tourism Day" was held in front of Ly Thai To Statue next to Hoan Kiem Lake on the first day of the New Year.
HCM City greeted the New Year with special artistic performances on its main streets in a blaze of fireworks set off from the Dam Sen Cultural Park and the banks of the Sai Gon River. — VNS